I wanted to change up my pace a little bit and look at the 2002 MLB draft and look at some of the cards that have risen to fame and crashed back to earth.
The past few years in the baseball draft we have only heard two players names in every announcers sentence, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. But how many talk about the 2002 First Overall Pick for the Pirates, Bryan Bullington...don't worry, I've never heard of him either.
Lets see some of the other players the Pirates passed up with drafting Bullington:
#2 Pick: BJ Upton
Upton has had his moments as a super star, then he has his average moments. B.J. has a career .255 average, and overall I don't feel that he has lived up to the 2nd overall pick compared at who else has been picked after him this draft. His cards have fallen from their hay days of being $50, his cards are back down to earth, but he is still considered a semi-star caliber player. As a collector you should be able to pick up his cards cheap.
#6 Pick: Zack Greinke
No other pitcher (except Rick Ankiel) has the odd history as Greinke. After his first four years in K.C. it looked as Greinke was going to be a bust and his mind was taking over skills. Finally in 2008 he was able to put it all together and has became a dominate pitcher. His cards actually started rising after he won the Cy Young Award, and trends have his cards staying steady.
#7 Pick: Prince Fielder
In my views, the best pick of the 2002 draft was Prince Fielder. Fielder came out in his first full season in 2006 hitting 28 Home Runs and has not hit below 30 Home Runs since. His cards will and should always hold their value because he has had a very consistent career.
#8 Pick: Jeff Francis
As a Rockies fan, I wonder why sometimes they year after year draft pitchers so high due to the altitude. I have always thought the Rockies should pick hitters early and get a good number of 2-4 round picks as pitchers because most Rockies pitchers don't last through their minor league systems. Francis has a career ERA near 5.00 and has a lot of troubles at times pitching at Coors Field. I collect Francis since he is a Rockie, but otherwise I wouldn't consider him a player who holds much value.
#16 Nick Swisher
Swisher has had a good career so far, but as a career .256 hitter making $11 million a year is a head scratchier. The only thing I can think of is that he is a Yankee because not many other teams would pay that amount for Swisher (except for the free spenders, Marlins, Cubs, Red Sox, and Dodgers). His cards have always stayed study, but overall his cards don't have much value (at least to me).
#17 Cole Hamels
Cole Hamels out of all pitchers in the first round has been the most consistent and seems to statically get better with each year. I don't get to see him pitch often but when I do see him pitch he always seems to be on top of his game. His cards have always been very collectible and have held their values for several years.
#19 James Loney
Jame Loney early in his career looked like he was destined for stardom, but after a rough 2012 and a move to Boston maybe a change of scenery will help him get back on track. It seems that Loney's cards hit their peak around 2008 and slowly have been going down. He still has a long career to turn around that value and make his cards go back up.
#23 Jeff Francoeur
His first few years as a Brave it looked like Francoeur was heading towards super star status. Since 2009 he has bounced around from the Mets, Rangers, and now Royals. Injuries have plagued him cutting down some playing time. Since 2009 his cards have been falling but have leveled out recently.
#25 Matt Cain
He is a very close to the top spot as top pitcher of the draft with Cole Hamels. Cain is one of those quite but very consistant pitchers and has a career 3.27 ERA pitching at spacious Pac Bell Park in San Fransisco. Matt Cain is like Hamels, as they are getting older they are pitching better. Cain's cards have risen since his rookie year and has been slowly rising each year.
OTHER FIRST ROUND NOTABLES
#11 Jeremy Hermida
#13 Khalil Greene
#20 Denard Span
* I used Beckett.com for price trends and Beckett Monthly Magazines to look up various values.
Overall I feel three players, Matt Cain, Cole Hamels, and Prince Fielder will have cards stay study and rise over time. Most of the other players above, their cards have hit their peaks and have went down over the years. I hope you enjoyed a quick look back at the 2002 First Round MLB Draft.